Autism

Autism
Autism (Infantile Autism) is a severe abnormality of mental development of children, characterized mainly by breaking the contact with others, emotional coldness, perversion interests and stereotyped activities. One of the defining and diagnostically important features of the disease is the appearance of symptoms at the age of 2.5 years. Autism is rare disease, it happens with 2-4 children from 10 000; boys get sick 3 times more often than girls. It is revealed in all social classes and in all parts of the world (Zimmerman 2008).

1. Looking through the situation with the 4 years old boy, who is sick with autism, it is worth mentioning that the symptoms of his disease are very explicit, the disease is progressing. The weaknesses of the boy are that he doesn’t pay much attention to social stimuli and to the world around him, he smiles very rare and doesn’t look at people around him, and he almost never responses to his own name. The boy deviates appreciably from the social norms: he rarely looks in the eyes of people who are with him; he expresses his desires by manipulating the hand of another person. At the age of 4, the boy is less likely to demonstrate the ability to understand the social situation around him; he is not inclined to come spontaneously close to other people; to respond to the display of emotion or imitate another's behavior; to participate in nonverbal communication; act in line with other people. At the same time he is very attached to those who directly take care of him. The confidence in the affection he has is moderately reduced. He still does not recognize faces and emotions. The child uses toys for inappropriate stereotypes manipulation with the purposes, for which they were not intended. The playing a fantasy of a boy is usually barren and has the depleted nature. The boy doesn’t prefer the solitude, it is just difficult for him to forge and maintain friendships. According to studies, a sense of loneliness the autistic children have is more to do with the poor quality of existing relationships, rather than with a small number of friends. (Frith 2003). The written features of the behavior are the main weaknesses of a little boy sick with autism.

2. Talking about the diagnosis of this disease, I must say that there are many methods to detect autism in children. In the case of the 4 year old boy, it is possible to use the Leiter International Performance Scale, which is an individual intelligence test that is increasingly used as a general measure of intelligence in situations that require a "culture free" test.
Leiter International Performance Scale is a completely non-linguistic test, in which even the instructions are given by means of pantomime. The test consists of the tasks, like matching the colors, copying the patterns, selection of shades of gray, rough estimation of the number of points in a given area, recognition of forms, quantitative reasoning, etc. There are also used the tasks as to the ability to think on numerical, abstract and imaginative material.
The original version of Leiter International Performance Scale is designed for testing of children aged 2 to 20 years old. A more recent version of the test Arthur Adaptation of the Leiter is designed for testing children aged 3 to 8 years (Baron-Cohen 1993).
The coefficients of reliability of Leiter International Performance Scale vary from 0.90 to 0.95. There is too little information as to the validity of the test. Despite its traditional use as a culture-free test, some studies show that the so-called cultural deprived people may actually have more serious difficulties while carrying out this type of test than when dealing with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. As in the case of any psychology tests, the caution should be exercised when interpreting test results of Letter International Performance Scale (Buros Institute of Mental Measurements 2005).

3. Leiter international performance scale is a nonverbal intelligence test that has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that it is suitable for people between 2 to 20 years of age. Neither the administrator nor participants of the test needs to speak, so it is easily can used for little children. The test avoids dependence on language skills, so children with reading disability are not in disadvantage situation. The Leiter test consists of two main parts: reasoning and visualization, passing which takes 40 minutes or so; and attention and memory part, which takes about 35 minutes. There are also some subtests, which include spatial memory, figure rotation, paper folding, and so on (Volkmar 2007).
The entire price of the Leiter international performance scale test is around $950 - $1000.

4. Autism in children is treated with therapy. The main goals of therapy are reducing the deficits associated with autism and stress in the family, improving the quality of life and functional independence of the autistic children. There is no single optimal method of therapy, any method is selected individually. Some improvement was noted while using many techniques of psychosocial care; it proves that any help is better than its absence.
The program of intensive, long-term special education and behavior therapy may help the child to learn self help skills, communication, contribute to the obtainment of job skills; they often increases the level of functioning, reduce the severity of symptoms and non-adaptive behaviors The application for that assistance is especially important in the age of 3. Available approaches include: Applied Behavioral Analysis (PBA), the use of "born developmental models”, structured teaching (TEACCH), speech therapy, social skills training and occupational therapy.

It is impossible to cure autism with known methods. Only a small percentage of children with a diagnosis of autism are able to continue to live independently, and only 1-2 of 100 become full members of society. More than half of children with autism need hospital care; a large part of patients after many years spent in the hospital, developed symptoms of chronic schizophrenia. In 25-30% of patients the epilepsy appears. Most remain disabled for the whole life (Bock 2005).
Thus, children's autism is a violation of mental development, characterized by autistic form of contact with others, and disorders of speech and motor activity, stereotyped activities and behaviors that lead to violations of social interaction. The prevalence of autism is 4-5 kids per 10 000 children (Mesibov 1997). Only 1-2 out of 100 children can become full members of society. Children with autism need our understanding and our help, thus the society should not be indifferent.

References

Baron-Cohen, Simon., Bolton, Patrick. Autism: the facts. 1993. pp. 48-49. Print.
Bock, Gregory., Goode, Jamie. Autism: neural basis and treatment possibilities. 2003. pp. 78-79. Print.
Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. The Sixteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook (Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks). 2005. pp. 789-794. Print.
Frith, Uta. Autism: explaining the enigma. 2003. pp. 101-102. Print.
Mesibov, Gary B., Adams, Lynn W., Klinger, Laura G. Autism: understanding the disorder. 1997. pp. 69-71. Print.
Volkmar, Fred R. Autism and pervasive developmental disorders. 2007. pp.214-217. Print.
Zimmerman, Andrew W. Autism: Current Theories and Evidence. 2008. pp. 324-327. Print.

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